Marvel’s blockbuster movie franchises may get most of the attention (and money), but for many viewers, the comic giant’s most interesting cinematic stories are happening on the small screen, or more accurately, on Netflix. As good as the studio’s network series have been, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter simply can’t compete with what Marvel has been putting out on the world’s most popular streaming service. Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the two Netflix series that have been released so far, have been revelatory experiences that have changed the whole dynamic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although Marvel’s slate of Netflix-produced series is already sizable, with a second season of Daredevil and the introduction of Luke Cage already confirmed for 2016, it may be difficult to add even more potential series into the mix. That being said, with the quality of what’s been on tap so far, it’s hard not to let your mind wander to what other Marvel characters would make for great TV. Here are the standouts among Marvel’s vast stable of heroes that would make excellent additions to our Netflix queues.
10. Young Avengers
The Avengers get all the important jobs and the recognition, but they’re not the only team of Earth defenders on the block. The Young Avengers are a lot like the regular Avengers, only younger (duh) and with a lot more teenage angst. Comprised of team members such as Iron Lad, Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), and Hulking, the Young Avengers by their very definition are like the Avengers’ minor league and since they’re an ensemble outfit, they’d be a great fit for a TV series. Young Avengers would be a Netflix series aimed at a younger demographic, but one that one that could still tackle similar thematic territory as its big screen counterpart. If Marvel could also have the occasional Avengers teammate drop by to offer assistance or wish them luck? Even better.
9. Cloak & Dagger
While their names may sound overly generic, the heroic duo known as Clock & Dagger are much more interesting characters than their superhero identities let on. Tyrone “Ty” Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) start out as two runaways who find themselves kidnapped and experimented on with drugs that give them superpowers. Cloak gains the ability to teleport himself and others through some sort of darkness dimension, but with the drawback of having an overwhelming hunger that can only be satisfied by consuming the light of others, while Dagger can create light that drains the life force of others. This necessitates a symbiotic relationship between the two, which would make for some compelling dramatic stakes. They would also slot in well with the subject matter of Marvel’s other Netflix shows, as their activities are primarily focused on taking down street level drug dealers.
8. Howard the Duck
Most people remember Howard the Duck as the star of his very own 80s comic book adaptation; unfortunately, most of those memories aren’t very fond. Howard the Duck is one of Marvel’s more bizarre characters and one that is very difficult to nail down in terms of tone in live action…which is why Marvel should refrain from doing so at all costs. Although a CGI Howard made an appearance in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy, that was more of a pleasant sight gag that Marvel gave to its fans than a precursor to a full-fledged Howard the Duck movie. Still, just because the character doesn’t work in certain situations doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be used at all. Arguably, Howard the Duck’s best chance at success is in some sort of animated series that would allow the zanier tone of the character’s comic stories to flourish. Admittedly, it would probably be tricky to tie an animated series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if any studio could pull it off, it would be Marvel.
7. Black Cat
The recent success of Jessica Jones proves that there is a place for female-driven superhero content and one of the characters that should be at the top of the list for future adaptations is Black Cat, a frequent nemesis/love interest of Spider-Man’s. Felicia Hardy is (big surprise here) a cat burglar with a conflicted moral compass to say the least, which a potential series could get a lot of mileage out of. Although some Marvel fans see Black Cat as a Catwoman ripoff and don’t really take her seriously, she’s still a strong character in her own right and her activities are very much rooted in street level concerns (and heists of course!), which would make her a relatively straightforward character to adapt into a Netflix series.
No, we’re not going to see a Spider-Man show featuring Peter Parker anytime soon, but what about all the other Spider-Men (and women) that haven’t had the chance to make their MCU debuts yet? Marvel has a great opportunity to give its various incarnations of Spider-Man a chance with the Netflix model, as it would allow them to try out some different things without having to worry too much about what’s going on the film side of the equation. One possibility? A series based on Spider-Man Noir, an alternate universe version of the character that just so happens to take place in the 1930s. Marvel could borrow a page from Agent Carter and make this very much a period piece, right down to a black and white visual aesthetic. Sure, we’re not really holding out much of any hope that Marvel will greenlight a Spider-Man Netflix series (it’s a small miracle that they’re even allowed to use the character in their movies) but that doesn’t mean there this idea doesn’t have a ton of potential.
While many like to point to Bryan Singer’s original X-Men film from 2000 as the origin of the modern superhero film craze, an argument can be made that it was really Blade that did this two years prior. Although that franchise petered out after 2004’s lackluster Blade:Trinity, it’s arguably time for the vampire hunter to make a comeback and a Netflix series of his own could be a good way to do it. Even though Blade hunts the supernatural, he’s still more of a street level hero than characters like Iron Man or Thor. Adding to that, his profession lends itself well to a monster of the week type of storytelling with an overarching plot to tie everything together, which is the stuff of TV writers’ dreams. We don’t really see Wesley Snipes coming back for this one, but if Marvel can get a good cast together and find a way of telling a really good Blade story on the small screen (preferably by bringing in frequent nemesis Morbius the Living Vampire), they should absolutely bring Blade back on TV rather than with a new movie.
4. Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel)
The current run of Ms. Marvel comics is one of Marvel’s most popular series and that’s thanks to the strength and appeal of the woman under the mask, Kamala Khan. Kamala is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book, so how cool would it be to see Marvel carry that torch over to its live action universe and have its first franchise with a Muslim actress in the starring role? As previously mentioned, Marvel has proven that female-driven content has a market and Kamala Khan represents an awesome opportunity for the company to get younger girls and minorities interested in its properties. If Netflix was to develop this into a high school drama with superhero elements, they’d probably have an enormous hit on their hands.
Yes we know, Hawkeye is already an established presence on the film side of the MCU, so we’re not going to be getting a Hawkeye show anytime soon. Then again, we’re not going to be getting a Hawkeye movie either (at least not for a long time) and if you think about it, Hawkeye is the perfect kind of character for a smaller scale TV series. The best route Marvel could take is to recast the part (because Jeremy Renner is an awful Hawkeye) and borrow heavily from Matt Fraction’s incredible recent run on the Hawkeye comics. Hawkeye is kind of a joke compared to most of his Avengers teammates and this is a sentiment that Fraction puts front and center in his stories. A Netflix series could focus on what Hawkeye gets up to when he’s not saving the world with the Avengers and could get a lot of mileage out of Clint Barton’s inferiority complex. This is also probably the only way we’ll ever get to see Pizza Dog in a live adaption too, so that pretty much makes this a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned, bro.
2. Moon Knight
Moon Knight is pretty much Marvel’s Batman. If that doesn’t sell you on the character, would it help if we said that he’s also way more unstable than the Dark Knight? Moon Knight AKA Marc Spector believes that he is an avatar for the Egyptian god of vengeance and fights his own conflicting personalites just as much as he does criminals. A superhero with intense inner psychological turmoil makes for enticing TV (just look at Daredevil and Jessica Jones if you need proof), so Moon Knight would be right at home with the rest of Marvel’s deeply-flawed heroes. Out of all the chracters on this list, Moon Knight is likely the closest to landing his own series, as rumors have been circulating for months that Netflix is looking to develop one. Honestly, we can’t wait to see a crazed lunatic who worships the moon wage his own personal (and brutal) war on crime.
1. The Punisher
We’ll get to see The Punisher make his MCU debut when Daredevil returns for its second season this spring, but the ruthless vigilante is too great a character to only be featured in someone else’s TV series. No, if Jon Berenthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle is as brutally-excellent as we fully expect it to be, Marvel needs to lock the actor in for his own series going forward. There have been a few good Punisher movies in the past but this is not the right avenue for the character. The Punisher thrives on his moral ambiguity and antihero status and as such, his appeal is a bit more niche than some of Marvel’s more popular heroes. Marvel’s Netflix series have been much darker in tone and more explicitly violent than their movie counterparts and The Punisher has the potential to be the darkest, most violent production Marvel has made to date. At this point, it’s probably only a matter of time before we see Frank Castle get his own series, but it would be nice to see this happen sooner rather than later.